Judges 7:22ďWhen the three hundred trumpets sounded, the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords.Ē


As I write this, I am on vacation, up in my New Hampshire cabin.It is out in the woods, but is not entirely isolated with some residents just across the street and down the road.Last night, a little after 9:30 pm, I heard a sound that in all my years of camping and living in the country, I have never heard.Ruckus was barking like the world was about to end, and even through all of that I could hear what sounded like a man in distress.I listened more and became frightened.It sounded like a man somewhere across the street was in terrible trouble and crying out loudly in pain.What could be happening to a man to cause him to make such incredible sounds?Of course it didnít help that I had been watching the news, and terrible possibilities flooded my mind.I called the police.


Well, it seems that I called the police on a bellowing moose.I donít think itís general practice to arrest a moose for disturbing the peace, so no one is in custody this morning; but the whole thing caused me to have a deep sense of camaraderie with the Midianites whose army got frightened and killed each other when they heard Gideonís men blowing trumpets and smashing jars.


The themes of fear and trust run throughout this military tale.God wants to teach Gideon that it is God and not military might that wins the battle.Thatís a good thing, because when Gideon offers that anyone in Israelís army who is afraid can go home, two-thirds of them leave!Still, however, if 10,000 brave men fight the Midianites, they might still think it was the strength of the army that won the victory.So God gives them the odd water-lapping test and with that, God whittles the number down to 300.


Three hundred men canít possibly defeat an army by their own might, and in the end, the battle is won just by causing enough strange noises in the dark to frighten the other army into self-destruction.The men of Israel are only used for the cleanup operation.


Yes, itís one of those bloody, heads-on-a-platter Old Testament stories, but then it was written in a bloody, heads-on-a-platter type age.The war tactics are not the message.The message is to trust God to keep promises.God promised to make a way into the Promised Land for Israel, and God will do just that.They donít have to do it themselves.If Gideon hadnít listened to God and had marched on Midian even with all of his 34,000 men, they would have fallen in defeat.But instead, they trust.The fearful ones who might act impulsively are sent home and the brave follow ordersÖeven weird ones.Probably they didnít cover jar-smashing in boot camp.


And thatís still the challenge to us today.Do you let fear or trust rule your life?Fear led to the Midianites turning on each otherÖand to me trying to have a moose arrested.Trusting in God gave Gideon the victory.


Life often scares the pants off us, God.The enemies seem numerous and threatening.Help us to put our trust in you.Amen.


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